To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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Discuss the mockingbird symbol in relation to Tom Robinson.

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As Atticus tells Jem and Scout, a mockingbird does no harm and makes music for people to enjoy. Tom Robinson is like a symbolic mockingbird because of his innocence; he has not harmed anyone and is an admirable character who offers help to others. Because Tom is not guilty, it makes it "sinful" to harm him.


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One of the overwhelming themes of To Kill a Mockingbird is that of empathy. We see this theme most prominently in the character of Atticus Finch, who's defining philosophy is to always withhold judgement and understand where someone else is coming from. Atticus tells his children that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because all a mockingbird does is sing. It has no nature or capacity to harm others, and therefore it is sinful to kill one. Even though children would never get in any kind of trouble for killing one, even though it is not against the law to kill one, a decent man would consider such an act immoral.

Such is the case with Tom Robinson. In the Bible Belt during the depression...

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